PETITION TO CONVENE AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATORY PANEL FOR THE INCIDENTS GIVING RISE TO THE MARCH 30th MEETING AND TO PLACE DR. BAXTER ON PAID ADMINSITRATIVE LEAVE PENDING THE OUTCOME OF THE INVESTIGATION
On or about March 26, 2010 a first grade student at the Fuller Meadow School was suspended, and subsequently expelled for the balance of the school year, for inappropriate touching of a sexual nature and bullying that impacted other students. A select number of parents and guardians of first grade students were then contacted and invited to participate in a meeting on March 30th at the Fuller Meadow School. Members of the School Committee, Dr. Baxter, and Dr. Creeden were present as well as members of the local police and media.
During the meeting a group of very concerned parents came forward and spoke about the circumstances leading up to the students suspension that resulted in grave concern over the school administration’s ability to adequately safeguard students. These allegations included, amongst others, that:
* The behavior had been reported as early as February 2009;
* The behavior was know to continue as early as December of 2009;
* Dr. Baxter had told parents not to contact the police,
* The child in question had restrictions placed on him for the safety of other children that included a requirement to use the restroom in the nurses office to prevent inappropriate behavior in the public restroom and that many staff members who had direct responsibility for the supervision of this child were not made aware of these types of restrictions including substitute teachers and lunch staff that were present at the meeting,
* Staff charged with watching the children at recess were also not informed as to the additional supervisory requirements
* Parents were also unaware of the additional restrictions placed on the boy to presumably safeguard their children,
* Dr. Baxter failed to inform Dr. Creeden of each and every instance of the behavior.
* Some of the parents of impacted children were not made aware by any school officials that their children were victims of the inappropriate behavior,
* Parents of impacted children were not given enough information to understand the nature of what had transpired,
* Other parents of children in other grades were not contacted at all despite reported incidents at the Kindergarten level,
* The administration conveyed they had reported certain behaviors to the appropriate authorities when this appears to have not happened.
These allegations were aired to a seemingly apathetic Dr. Baxter who never voluntarily addressed the crowd (she did only after being requested to do so by the attendees). If just a fraction of these allegations prove to be true then Dr. Baxter should be removed from office as she will have proved to be woefully incapable of protecting the children in her charge as Principal of the Fuller Meadow School.
Moreover, the attendees of the March 30th meeting were deeply disappointed with Dr. Baxter’s apathetic response to the allegations and frustrations aired by the parents. Specifically, when asked why decisions were made that ultimately facilitated the conduct in question she placed the blame on a decision that was made by a “team” and did not take ownership of the issue.
The allegations and Dr. Baxter’s participation at the March 30th meeting have shaken many parents to their core and have caused them to fear for the safety of their children. Accordingly, the undersigned submit the following two part petition to seek resolutions to these concerns:
Part I: At the March 30th meeting Dr. Creeden made reference to the fact that he “may” convene an independent investigation. The undersigned respectfully request that an independent investigatory panel be convened immediately to run in a parallel fashion with existing investigations conducted by the School Committee. There is a deep concern that some of the individuals involved in the first investigation may have civil and/or criminal culpability. As a result, there may be potential conflicts of interest that could interfere with the investigation. An independent team would safeguard against this possibility.
Part II: Given the gravity of the above-referenced allegations and the concerns over Dr. Baxter’s competency the undersigned respectfully request that Dr. Baxter be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the independent investigation. We further propose that a suitable interim replacement should be dispatched during the suspension period.
Respectfully, concerned parents and guardians of Fuller Meadow students: